Speaking on the morning that the Frenchman didn’t start the race, Florence Pommerie says there were no immediate signs of the injuries Bardet had suffered and in this instance, the onus was on the team doctor to evaluate his condition.
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“I do not think so, no,” Pommerie replied to Ouest France’s question of whether she and the medical team had endangered Bardet’s life by letting him continue. “With no immediate signs…the body, sometimes, is a machine that gives us time before showing disturbing signs.
“Often the signs come after the race, and in this case, like Friday for Bardet, it’s up to the team doctor to do what is necessary. In Bardet’s case, it was upon arrival that he felt disoriented. And yes, that’s pretty normal.
“The hematoma may very well be slight at first, there are no signs, and over time the hematoma grows larger and then the signs appear.”
Pommerie also points out that bike races, in their current structure, provide a uniquely difficult situation to treat and assess possible concussions.
“We are in a race, we are not in a rugby stadium, where there is the possibility of taking an athlete out to take the time to ask him a whole bunch of questions that would be in a form,” Pommerie explained.
“The rider falls, we go to the crash if we can, sometimes we don’t have time and the rider has already started again. This is often the case…then, of course, we will see him, we examine him as best we can during the race by asking him questions, by looking at what he has. But the rider is in his race, sometimes he is nervous, tense, and it often happens that a rider is a little “muddy” after a fall.”
When Bardet went to see the medical car, Pommerie says he was clear-headed and only asked for painkillers so he could continue.
The 2019 polka dot jersey winner was fourth on GC before his crash, only 30 seconds down on race leader Primož Roglič.
Of the nine Grand Tours Bardet has contested during his career, the 2020 Tour de France will be the first one he hasn’t finished.